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University of Chester graduate creates exciting vision for new Cathedral visitor spaces

University of Chester graduate creates exciting vision for new Cathedral visitor spaces

The vision and interior design skills of a University of Chester (@uochester) graduate are illustrating the exciting possibilities for new Cathedral spaces in the city.

Ellie Grainger has created a set of stunning designs for Project Discovery which is returning a major piece of Chester Cathedral‘s architectural heritage, at 30 St Werburgh Street, into its care this year.

The Project will link up the building adjacent to the Cathedral, currently occupied by Barclays Bank, with the Cathedral’s visitor entrance, to further boost its presence in the city, provide additional facilities to enhance the visitor experience and connect with city communities.

Recent (BA Honours) Interior Design graduate, Ellie’s visuals highlight how the spaces within the building could be used and how they could look. The images present potential new uses for both the interior and land to the rear of the building, with the aim of promoting initial discussions.

After working with Lynne Bell, University of Chester Interior Design Programme Leader, and alongside Cathedral Project Manager Suzi Bailey to suggest new functions, Ellie produced the series of images showcasing alternative uses, from an art and sculpture gallery and a new visitor reception area to an events space and sculpture garden.

Ellie, who is now working as an exhibition designer, said:

“I’m delighted to be part of Project Discovery, this new chapter for the building and all its audiences, and the Cathedral’s thriving contribution to Chester life.”

The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester said:

“The Project Team and I are deeply grateful to Ellie for the work she has done in creating visuals for Project Discovery at Chester Cathedral. This project will see us develop 30 St Werburgh Street, currently occupied by Barclays Bank, to link up with the Cathedral’s visitor entrance, cultivating a confident presence for the Cathedral in Town Hall Square and enabling us to serve the city and community more easily.

“Ellie’s work has helped us to consider the use of space within 30 St Werburgh Street, giving options from gallery and exhibition space, to education and interpretation and green spaces which the public can engage with. The visuals have been used in helping us to engage potential funders in the project and to enable stakeholders to see the opportunities the project holds in this early stage of development.”

Lynne Bell added: “Ellie has brought her impressive vision, creativity and skills to this project to produce a striking set of designs and help in visualising and building further connections between the Cathedral, the city centre and its communities.

“Ellie was the perfect choice for this project. She stood out as a student – her final degree project was shortlisted from thousands of entries in the Global Design Graduate Show 2023, an international art and design competition supported by Gucci, and she has a bright future in design ahead.”

Barclays Bank worked closely with the Cathedral and Cheshire West and Chester Council to identify new locations and will move to two new prominent sites in the city centre – the Forum on Northgate Street and Abbey Square – continuing to support customers with their banking needs while growing its local community presence.

The official launch of Project Discovery will take place on March 14, 2024 and be substantially complete in 2028. Updates will be available on

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